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August 2, 2002
March 3,1945, as taken from-the Oroville Mercury Register.

Lt Wigle Rated High Among Nation's Heroes: His Courageous Acts Related
Details Told In Citation: Led Men Up Bare, Rocky Slopes To Drive Enemy Out.
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty," the late Lt. Thomas W. Wigle, former Oroville musician, Has been awarded posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor. By special order of President Roosevelt, the medal was conferred on Lt. Wigle's widow, Mrs. Margaret Henry Wigle, Feb. 16 in Detroit, Mich., birthplace of the young hero. Diana, two-year-old daughter of Lt. and Mrs. Wigle, was with her mother in the federal courtroom where Maj. Gen. Russel B. Reynolds made the presentation. Oroville's foremost hero of World War II and believed to be the only local man ever to receive the Congressional award, Lt. Wigle was fatally wounded while leading a successful attack on an enemy position that had impeded his unit's progress on the Gothic line at Monte Frassino in Italy.

Details of the heroic acts, for which the nation's highest military honor was awarded Lt. Wigle, were published in a Detroit paper that was received here by friends (Dr. and Mrs. C. B. Griggs, close friends of the young musician while he lived here) of Lt. Wigle and his family. The story of the 35 year old infantry lieutenant’s high courage and gallantry was told in the in the following citation; “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in the vicinity of Monte Frassino, Italy. On 14 September 1944, the 3rd Platoon in attempting to seize a strongly fortified hill position, protected by three parallel high terraced stone walls, was twice thrown back by the withering cross fire of machine guns and intense barrages of mortar and artillery fire.

“Lt. Wigle, acting company executive, observing that the Platoon was without an officer, volunteered to command it in the next attack. Leading his men up the bare rocky slopes through intense and concentrated fire, he succeeded in reaching the first of the stone walls. Having himself boosted to the top and perching there in full view of the enemy, he drew and returned their fire while his men helped each other up and over.

"Following the same method he successfully negotiated the second. Upon reaching the top of the third Wall he faced three houses, which were the key point of the enemy's defense. Ordering his men to cover him, he made a dash through a hail of machine pistol fire to reach the nearest house. Firing his carbine as he entered, he drove the enemy before him out of the back door and into the second house. Following closely on the heels of the foe, he drove them from this house into the third where they took refuge in the cellar.

"When his men found him they found him mortally wounded on the cellar stairs which he had started to descend to force the surrender of the enemy. (He died two days later) "His heroic action resulted in the capture of 36 German soldiers and the seizure of the strongpoint.” Lt. Wigle was the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Palmer Wigle of Detroit. He began his study of music at the age of 10. He became a violin virtuoso playing for five years with the Kansas Symphony under Karl Krueger, now conductor of the Detroit Symphony. He and Krueger were close friends. The noted conductor is in possession of one of several symphonies composed by Lt. Wigle. It is called "Western Saga."

For relaxation from his music studies, Lt. Wigle always liked to shoot on a rifle range. He never hunted game. He hated war but after spending three days in the nation's capital viewing historic documents, monuments and buildings, just before he went overseas, he wrote to a friend here, "I've decided that this government is worth fighting for." At Monte Frassino he kept faith with that decision. The Detroit papers referred to Lt. Wigle as "Detroit's greatest hero. "'They published his life story with full-page groups of pictures showing him as a child, a concert violinist and as a soldier. Pictures of his wife and daughter and of his parents were included. On the day that Lt. Wigle's widow received the medal awarded her husband, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, led by Krueger, dedicated its performance to the hero.

Stu says:
Above and Beyond, the more research I do the more I find how bravely the Oroville boys served their country. The Medal of Honor is the highest honor in battle a person can receive. It is given out very sparingly. It is sad, growing up in Oroville, I had no knowledge of what this Oroville man had done. True he was not born here, but for a while he called Oroville home. We must never forget him.

Additional notes by Stu:
How did we fornget this man over the years. I moved here in 1946 and never heard his name until I read and old Mercury last year. Lt. Thomas W. Wigle lived in Oroville from 1937 - 1941. He taught music and made many friends that are now gone. Although Jim Lenhoff has found one in San Franciso. Also, Gene Harris took violin lessons from him.